SIVILS DRIVE INN, Started Oak Cliff Craze

“People in their cars are so lazy that they don’t want to get out of them to eat” proclaimed candy and tobacco mogul Jesse Granville Kirby in 1921. At the time, he was trying to get Dallas physician Reuben Wright Jackson interested in investing in a new type of roadside restaurant. That was how Sivils started.

Sivils Car Hop, 1940s

Sivils Car Hop, 1940s

Kirby’s revolutionary new format would one day form the basis for all “fast food” stands. His idea was simple: Patrons would drive up in their automobiles and make food requests
from behind the wheel. Acting as an order-taker, a young lad would field requests for food directly through the window of the customer’s car. Before engines had a chance to cool down, hot food and cold drinks would be delivered right back out to the curb, lickety-split. The best part of it all was that diners could consume their meals while still sitting in the front seat of their cars!

Sivils “drive-inn” opened in Houston in 1938. In 1940, J.D. and Louise Sivil added this location in Dallas, a city
landmark for years to come.

Courtesy Texas Highways, Oct. 2006.

Wife Says Fugative Husband Went Crazy Over Car Hops: A few months after Life Magzine (1954) featured the snappily dressed car hops at Sivils Drive Inn, a Dallas Morning News article was printing another view of the story.

Here is the story from the July 16, 1954 issue of the Dallas Morning News:
Scantily clad carhops received a portion of the blame Monday for a traffic smashup on the Commerce Street cut-off late Sunday in which one of the participating drivers fled the scene of the accident.

Deputy Sheriffs -T. E. Butler and O. S. Hines traced the ownership of the car through the license number and at 1 a.m. knocked on the door of the motorist’s home. The motorist wasn’t there. His wife, answering the officers’ knock. informed them.

“We were wondering if he was drunk.” they ventured.
“Of course he was drunk.'” his wife snapped, “He’s drunk all the time.”

“When did you see him?”
“Two weeks ago. That’s when he started going out to these sandwich stands where the waitresses wear shorts.” she said- “He just went crazy.”

J. P. Matthews of 6000 Lewis, the driver of the other car, was uninjured according to news article.

Time Life Magazine Coverage Here.

Other Oak Cliff information here.